Lampert: “I had to say what I said!”

Dubois Co. Sheriff Donny Lampert

Lampert

Jasper (NNDC) – Dubois County Sheriff Donny Lampert says he is not happy that his emotions got to a point Monday night when he told the county council… “If our (county) employees ain’t worth that, then you can go ahead and kiss my kiss my….!”

But, the second term sheriff told NNDC Tuesday, “I’m not happy with what I said, but, I said it because it had to be said!”

Lampert’s frustration and use of the three-letter explicative came after the council voted unanimously to not approve $181.75 in additional pay for a kitchen staffer who filled in recently for the kitchen manager at the Dubois County Security Center for two weeks when the manager had undergone needed surgery.

State law mandates county department heads have to get approval for anything related to employee salaries including hourly workers, even if the department has already has money in its accounts.

County council president Greg Kendall says he understands the sheriff’s frustration.  Kendall says the staffer more than likely is deserving of the extra pay.

Dubois Co. Council President Greg Kendall

Kendall

Kendall told NNDC Tuesday, “(County) employees fill in for each other all the time to help out their departments.”

He continued, “But if the council started granting pay requests like this one, we’d be inundated with these requests.  And that it would not be good for the county for the time needed by both the department heads and the council to address these kind of requests and to keep track of the dollars involved.  Our (the county’s) employees do a great job and they take pride in their work and they take pride in helping their fellow workers.”

Lampert argued Monday the money was already in the security center’s coffers.  He says he was not asking the council for additional money for the jail’s budget.

Lampert has addressed what he calls pay “fairness” or “unfairness” at previous meetings during his time as sheriff.  He has done so not just for staff at both the security center and the community corrections center next door, but for all county employees.  He was first elected as sheriff back in 2010.

Both Lampert and Kendall are in elected positions; both are also Democrats.

Last August, Lampert was upset with the council when it granted what he calls an unfair increase in the salary approved for the new director of the county’s community corrections center.  Lampert said then he felt the salary paid to William Wells was not fair to what the county had paid interim director Jenny Fuhs to fill after the resignation of former director J.P. Weisheit.

Lampert was also not happy with the amount of a bonus Fuhs received from the council after Well was hired.  The council acknowledging that Fuhs did take on more responsibilities for the county as the interim director; an amount Kendall said he wished was more.

Kendall did acknowledge that how the sheriff was making his requests and arguments has not been received well by the council as a whole but does say, “he is fighting for what he believes in.”

Lampert walked out of last August’s meeting telling the council then he didn’t want to say anything he’d regret later.

Lampert says he doesn’t regret what he said Monday but felt it was the only way to get his point across.

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